Days 78 & 79: It’s raining big, splattering drops here and I am mulling things over. I am nearly 80 days in and I’m not sure if knowledge and progress are weighing evenly with failures and unbridled whimpering. At this point, here’s what I think:
Compassion and anger are able to be partners–even if they make me uncomfortable. In Chapter 6 of Crones Don’t Whine, the author talks about how even the meekest among us finds and voices her outrage more easily as an older woman. She adds that the choice to go down one path ultimately means we have chosen not to take a different route. (I am not sure I wholly agree with her about this.) I have notes that say compassionate anger, well-intended outrage, growling hope and radical empathy–can you make your self-interest the center of this decision-making or will this always work by putting others first and self last? This becomes a pretty important point as I go forward because I have apparently been living some of it backwards. So much of what I have read about contentment and fulfillment in this part of life is about becoming an activist, a volunteer, a voice for those who cannot always speak for themselves. And evidently in our 60’s is when all of this is supposed to flourish. For me, my first interaction with rescue dogs was feeding strays as a pre-schooler. I was 12 when I hid a neighbor boy in our basement because his father was intent on killing him. For years I spent every waking moment of every day being an advocate for my son, abused children, families with mental health crises, as well as women battling social and educational illiteracy. I am finding no guidelines to say what a person who has done this from youth to 60 does from 60 on. I don’t think there will ever be a time when I am not somehow involved. But there has to be balance. And there has to be something to do when I do choose self.
I must get some sleep. I have to be up early to take my golden retriever for his Spring spa day at the groomers where he will be bathed, clipped, and have a chance to romp and play with his friends. Maybe I need to take a cue from my dog.